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The Honda Accord has long been one of the most popular entries, in a mainstay of the American market: the mid-size, family-oriented sedan. While the competition has heated up to an unprecedented level over the past several years, with the likes of the savvy, stylish Ford Fusion, the ever-more-value-loaded Hyundai Sonata, and even fresh new entries like the Chrysler 200, the 2015 Accord carries over from last year's redesign as a model that doesn't aim to be an outlier, rather a lean, refined, sophisticated model that does it all -- with a lot more value than we've expected from Honda in the past.
Honda added some of the design flair and sophistication, in last year's redesign, that helps it keep up with the likes of all this new sheetmetal in the mid-size sedan segment. Although at the same time, the Accord has rekindled some of the elegant, upright look of Accords past -- all with some underlying suggestions, in the design, that Honda isn't willing to sacrifice the Accord's spacious, comfortable goodness for an extra-swoopy roofline. We wouldn't call this model stunning or head-turning, but the look, which maximizes the greenhouse (window space) and isn't at all slab-sided altogether looks fresh.
The rather low instrument panel, and an interior design that really pushes out the corners, altogether enforces that airiness inside. Meanwhile, important controls are placed quite high within it. With Coupes, you give up some practicality for a performance look; they're mostly the same as sedans from the front seats forward, but their completely different, wedgier tail and side sheetmetal adds up to a more dynamic stance.
Although 2015 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid and Accord Hybrid models are covered in a separate review, they're the way to go for those who really want to minimize their gasoline consumption. Instead, they have a frugal 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, plus a lithium-ion battery pack and new two-motor hybrid system that can operate in three different modes, including full-electric operation. You sacrifice a little cargo space, but earn an EPA City rating of 50 mpg.
As for the rest of the model line, powertrains are both stronger and more fuel-efficient than they were just a couple of years ago. With the base four-cylinder engine, you get direct injection technology, and you can choose from a six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). This CVT gives a much more linear feel than earlier CVTs on the market, so it might even fool some drivers into thinking it's a regular automatic transmission. The four makes 185 horsepower in most models, while an Accord Sport model makes 189 hp. A V-6 engine is still offered across the Accord model line; it makes 278 hp and is coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission or (in Coupes only) a six-speed manual gearbox. Regular unleaded gasoline is just fine no matter which engine, and fuel economy ratings range up to 27 mpg city, 36 highway with the four-cylinder engine and CVT, and up to 21/34 with the V-6.
Honda dropped its once-heralded double-wishbone setup in the Accord last year, instead opting for more tunable (and cheaper) MacPherson struts that it claims improve ride and handling while cutting cabin noise and harshness. So far, we can't say that's off the mark; the Accord drives with much of the verve of previous editions, and the new electric power steering is particularly good.
The 2015 Honda Accord is smart with its comfort and passenger space; with a somewhat smaller exterior, Honda has packed more space inside, in about every way possible. The driving position is nice and upright, and for those in front or in back, the plentiful window space allows a good view all around. Rear legroom improved with the redesign, while entry and exit is a strength; the only functionality letdown is that the rear seat folds forward in one clunky piece. Among all these models, we could do with a less confusing control set -- especially the dual-screen infotainment system you get in some trims. Coupe models are of course a little tighter in back, with a slightly stiffer ride; but they pack all the goodness of the sedans into a vehicle with a far sportier roofline.
Both Sedan and Coupe models meet the IIHS standards for 'Basic' frontal crash protection, which you can get by adding this model's active-safety package—Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Adaptive Cruise Control. There's also a cool LaneWatch Blind Spot Display provides a wide view of the passenger side of the vehicle on the Multi-Information Display (i-MID) screen the moment you flick the turn signal. It's truly one of the coolest new features to debut this past year.
Honda in the past hasn't had much of a reputation for cramming value and convenience features into its vehicles. But that's all been turning around in recent years, with a comprehensive, high-value mid-cycle redesign for the Civic a couple of year ago, and then the full redesign given to the Accord this past year. The Honda Accord Sedan offered in LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, V6, and Touring trims, while the Coupe available in LX-S, EX, EX-L, and EX-L V6 models. The base Accord LX model includes dual-zone automatic climate control, 16-inch alloys, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera system, and an eight-inch i-MID display with Pandora audio streaming and SMS text-message capability. V-6 models get some nicer cabin appointments, and EX-L models have a 360-watt system with Aha internet radio streaming. Adaptive Cruise Control is exclusive to the Touring Sedan.
For 2015, Accord EX trims, for the Sedan and Coupe, all get a newly standard HomeLink garage-door opener, as well as an auto-dimming mirror.